What Does Habitual Traffic Offender (HTO) Mean?

Categories: Criminal Defense

Habitual Traffic Offender

A person’s driving privileges could be suspended or even revoked by the state for a variety of reasons. From driving while under the influence to being a danger on the road, the state may feel that it is safer to remove your driving privilege than allow you to continue your reckless behavior.

Driving is Not a Right

Many individuals think they have the right to drive. However, driving is not a right; it is a privilege. If you are irresponsible on the road, the state has the right to remove your ability to drive.

The Habitual Traffic Offender Statute

Not all states employ a Habitual Traffic Offender Statute (HTO), but the state of Colorado does have one. In Colorado, you could face up to five years of license revocation with the possibility of receiving a probationary license or never receiving your license again.

An HTO loss could be devastating for your social life, career, education, and family. If you are convicted of a DUI, for example, it can be almost impossible to get back on your feet if you are designated as an HTO.

What Constitutes an HTO Strike on Colorado?

You will be considered a “habitual traffic offender” if you receive a conviction – not a citation – for serious driving offenses. These three serious offenses must be committed in a seven-year period to qualify for the HTO strike. If you have three of the qualifying offenses in that period of seven years, the state can revoke your driver’s license for five years.

The following are HTO-applicable offenses listed in Colorado Statute Section 42-2-202:

  • Driving Under the Influence
  • Vehicular Assault
  • Vehicular Homicide
  • Driving during Revocation
  • Reckless Driving
  • Driving Under Suspension
  • Hit and Run
  • Providing False Information to the Department of Motor Vehicles
  • Vehicular Manslaughter
  • Criminally Negligent Homicide
  • Driving While Ability Impaired (DWAI)

One Arrest Could Equal Two Offenses

If you are arrested in a single event, that single event may still result in multiple convictions. For example, you were driving under the influence while on a license revocation. You already had your driver’s license revoked or suspended as part of a previous DUI conviction penalty. Therefore, the offense of driving under the influence again, plus driving on a suspended license, will equal three offenses.

You will automatically be considered an HTO and your driver’s license will be revoked for five years.

Also, the penalties for a repeat offender are much harsher in the state of Colorado. If you were driving under revocation, your first offense could result in 18 months in county jail.

If you are already on HTO status and you are arrested for a DUI, you could face a Class Six Felony charge.

Contact a Criminal Defense Attorney Immediately

If you have been charged with an HTO, or you think that you are in danger of being classified as an HTO, contact a criminal defense attorney immediately. Mark S. Rubinstein, P.C. can assist you with your traffic violations and HTO cases. Schedule a free consultation appointment now by calling 970-704-0888 or requesting your consultation appointment online.

Mark Rubinstein

Attorney Mark S. Rubinstein has been practicing law for more than 30 years, including 25 years in Colorado. He founded Mark S. Rubinstein, P.C., in Carbondale after working for law firms in Denver and earlier in his career in San Diego. He focuses his practice in the areas of criminal defense and personal injury representation, and he is well known throughout western Colorado as an effective and unwavering advocate for his clients.